Nicholas of Damascus

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Nicholas of Damascus


Born in Damascus in 64 B.C.; died in the beginning of the first century of the Common Era. Greek historian.

Nicholas was an adviser to the king of Judea, Herod I. He later lived at the imperial court in Rome.

Nicholas’ works have come down to us in fragments, including a universal history in 144 books, Life of Caesar, On My Own Life and Upbringing, and Collection of Remarkable Customs. Of special interest is his history, the first books of which are devoted to the history and mythology of the countries of the East, the last to the events of the seventh through fourth centuries B.C. in the Mediterranean. A large part of the history has been lost.

Nicholas’ Life of Caesar was written to glorify Emperor Augustus. It is the only source of information about Augustus’ childhood and youth. The fragments of the Collection of Remarkable Customs give us an idea of the everyday life and legal relations of various ancient peoples. The greatest number of fragments are preserved in the works of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, as well as in the works of Strabo and Flavius Josephus. Nicholas’ poetic and philosophical works have not been preserved.


Jacoby, F. Die Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker, vol. 2 (A). Berlin, 1926. Pages 324–420; vol. 2 (C), Berlin, 1926. Pages 261–96.
In Russian translation:
In Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1960, nos. 3–4.
References in periodicals archive ?
4) Lionel Pearson, Early Ionian Historians (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939), 121-22; Ben Wacholder, Nicolaus of Damascus (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962), 54, 57, 65, 67; H.
There are four classical accounts of Julius Caesar's murder - two by Plutarch, one by Suetonius and another by Nicolaus of Damascus.
The convoluted account of Gyges' rise to power offered by Nicolaus of Damascus (FGrH 90 F 44-47) bears relatively little resemblance to the better known narratives at Herodotus 1,8-13 and Plato, Republic 359b6-360b2.
The major source for Josephus, Nicolaus of Damascus, justified Herodian usurpation of the throne by portraying Hyrcanus as morally upright, but ineffectual.
The Peripatetic attitude is typified by the entry in the Suda on Nicolaus of Damascus,(20) who lived in the second half of the first century B.
As to Josephus' view that there were rifts within the Jewish community during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus, Efron contends that this perspective is derived from Nicolaus of Damascus, who sought to cast abuse upon the entire people of Israel and their Hasmonean leaders.